Thursday, 24 September 2009

Small world

I've just received some mini-cards that I made on They're brilliant! (or the concept is anyway - some of my pictures could be improved.) They are mini-business cards 1" x 2" approx, and you can upload as many as 100 pictures to the site, so each one can be different - perfect for creative people. The format suits me as I like narrow designs.

They also do regular business cards and loads of other stuff which you can customise with your own photos or designs - or pick from theirs.

The quilt is nearly finished - just the binding to do - and maybe a bit of hand stitch - we'll see. Am now looking for suitable pictures to illustrate the interaction of shape and space for tomorrow's teaching - have most of them in place - just need a couple more.

So what am I doing writing my blog and wasting time? Well I've just been chatting on facebook (didn't know you could do that - was only checking my emails honest!) to someone I was at uni with 28 (!) years ago and haven't seen since - weird or what? And - he has been living in my home town for the past 23 years! It's definitely a small world.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Supposed to be quilting a Stitch Witch piece, but decided to look at emails, then facebook and then my blog, and now 90 minutes have disappeared! The piece is for our exhibition in November, the theme is Transitions (and there is a colour thing going on too). All pieces are 12" wide by 60" long, and mine is made up of triangle units, in red, orange and pink saturated colours, both commercial and hand dyes. There are 80 units, so 320 triangles in the piece, and the majority of them have all their points! Iit has to be said - I do like piecing, despite being a non-traditional quilter. Has to be finished by Friday! It's called Order to Chaos  because the units start off organised into blocks, with good contrast and a defiinite plan, but as the piece progresses it descends into chaos (the story of my life!?) Here are a couple of detail pics:

I'm machine quilting it but am having trouble with the rayon thread - keeps breaking - probably because I was lazy (and pushed for time) and used polyester in the bobbin instead of going out to find some red cotton. Have also tried bamboo wadding and am finding that the fibres migrate through the top fabric, which is a pain - perhaps if I'd washed it before use this would have helped reduce this.

I found a great blog via a link from Contemporary Quilt: in 2005 the owner of the blog decided to teach herself to draw by doing a sketch each day in a small book she'd been given for Christmas. She's posted them all on her blog. It's called woolgathering and is well worth a look if you have a free moment - interesting frames, and such discipline!

Anyway now two hours have gone - so I'd better go too . . .

Friday, 28 August 2009

Festival of Quilts

Just going to spend 10 minutes writing about Festival of Quilts, before it is too out of date. Should really be making a star block for Hazel - don't tell her!

Spent two days there last weekend - as ever not enough, and despite all intentions about proper planning, and a reduced number of categories, still spent most of the first day wandering around in a quilt-induced haze! Also spent too much (but not as much as last year) and bought fabric which I didn't need but couldn't resist and thread and books as usual. It was nice to catch up with Kate and Di and meet Mai-Britt again. And thrilling to see that Mai-Britt won the Miniatures category with a contemporary quilt - Little Thin Blue Line (below).

As usual there were loads of really talented makers and wonderful quilts, so I'll just post a few of my favourites:

From Yoshilo Jinzenji's students, made from her original screen printed fabric - these are wonderful - I love the way the traditional patterns appear and disappear depending on how the fabric is cut.

From Brigitte Morgenroth (Wirbelwind), using Heidi Stoll-Weber hand-dyed fabric - isn't the use of colour stunning?
Gillian Travis' Felt flowers, using screen-printed felt, winner of Quilt Creations category
I also loved the simplicity of Ingrid Press' work (above) and the subtly restrained use of colour in Jenny Bowker's Life Line series, discovered in one of the galleries at only the last minute on Saturday (below).
That's all for now, I'll add more later when I've sorted out my photos.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Catching Up - or displacement activity?

I'm clearly not very good at keeping up with things - I can't believe it is eight months since I last posted. Anyway, I'm engaging in some displacement activity during a very boring day at work and using the lunch break to catch up.

We moved house last summer. Twice in my case - first out of my house and into his, then (after a fire and total redecoration, living out of boxes and planning lessons in the garden) into our new house. And, despite the fact that I now have a sewing room, and bought a new sewing machine at FoQ last year, it has taken me till now to get things organised and my brain into gear - that's my excuse and I'm sticking firmly to it!

I haven't been doing absolutely nothing - I find that preparing weekly lessons for our C&G courses, particularly organising teaching samples, reading around subjects and trying out new ideas, takes a lot of time, but I wonder whether this too doesn't fall into the category of displacement activity. Editing Southern Star also takes up a lot of time - it has been quite a steep learning curve but I've finally got it how I want it (still open to suggestions and comments though). More displacement activity as I learn how to use photoshop to crop backgrounds off quilts with irregular edges, edit pdfs and match font colours precisely to the cover photo.

The Stitch Witches are planning their next exhibition (called Moving On) at Farnham Maltings in November, and I have loads of quilting to do! My lack of organisation and 'brain-in-gearness' has extended to sewing too, and so the others are beginning to get worried!

However, boosted by a sunny Spanish holiday and a flying visit to Barcelona (15 year-olds and Gaudi don't mix - 'Muuum - why do you have to spend so much time looking at architecture!?!'), and fired with inspiration from a trip to the Festival of Quilts (thrilling to see someone I know winning the Miniature Quilt category - with an art quilt - well done Mai-Britt!), I stopped procrastinating and started stitching on Sunday, and seem to be making good progress. Thank goodness I am queen of the last minute - very good at working to deadlines - usually at 3 in the morning! Don't tell my students!

And because I am a quilter (honest!) here are pictures of my quilt that won 1st prize in the Art Quilts category at The National Quilt Championships in Sandown last year (2008) just to be going on with! These are details of A Journey - it was made for the Stitch Witch Recycled challenge, and is a recycled map, painted with gesso, Neocolour and Brusho, bonded to scrim for strength and hand quilted onto a recycled felted blanket backing. It reflects on life’s journey, and the influences and choices that can have such a great impact on it. We are lucky if (like me) we get a second chance at getting it right. It is not in my usual style - both the technique (except the big-stitch hand quilting) or the subject matter, but obviously there was something right about it!
My current work is inspired by the sea and by Gaudi's use of pattern and shape. There is not much of it yet, but I'll share it as it happens - I've finally got lots of ideas - and that's a good place to be.